Comics: 451: Self Storage & Sunflower: Short Reviews

     Lately I've been growing tired of reading the oversaturated superhero market in comic books.  Marvel and DC dominating the scene and retelling the same stories over and over, and their disturbing trend of re-branding old characters with more marketable and currently popular fill-ins is getting old quickly.
     Of course, I rave about publishers like Valiant holding their own with wonderful titles and a nice range of books to keep me interested and reading.  Things that are different and original.  Well, a couple weeks ago I stumbled across a new publisher on Comixology and I bought two first issues on a whim.  Which turned out great because they are really awesome titles.  The group is [ 451 ] and the comics are Self Storage and Sunflower.  Both are extremely well done and very entertaining.  I've included the motion comics of the first issues here for those of you that are not quite certain you want to dive right in and give them a try.


     Creator Clay McLeod Chapman has given us a very interesting premise with the the question, "If you found a zombie in a storage locker... would you keep it?"  The book is about a fellow named Chris Smith that is the type of person you might see on an episode of Storage Wars.  Just a guy trying to get by in life by picking up what others left behind in their storage sheds.  Bidding on containers and hoping for some great treasures to pawn at a profit, he buys unit #83.  Instead of potential riches he finds a teenage zombie named Jessica.  Once he's purchased this container and finds what's inside he must now find out who put her in there and why.

     Honestly, this story seems like it would be very low key, but it is riveting in how nicely they've created this small world.  It builds up a tense story I want to really follow.  It's not often that I find new comics that capture my attention like this.  Chapman has done well in making the life of storage buyer Chris seem real and interesting.  he isn't a big-time hero, he's just some guy that happened to come across something far outside the range of normal.
     The art by Matt Timson helps create a believable world.  The black and white world is filled with strange shades of gray and he nails it- most notably when Chris first enters the storage unit in the dark.  The art is simple and effective, creating a sense of psychological horror felt in the most ordinary ways.


     In Sunflower, 10 years have passed since CJ's husband and daughter Tallulah were murdered.  His body was found, hers was not.  It's also been 10 years since she left her farm.  She's gone on with her life, living like a hermit, but she never really gave up hope.  Then one day she receives a postcard with her daughter's nickname and handwriting.  It fires up her motivation to do something about it and try to save her daughter.  A motivation to do whatever it takes to find her and make things right.  To find who has done this and make them pay.

     Writer Mark Mallouk (adapted by Andi Ewington) has created the beginning of what looks to be the start of a great crime/mystery story.  CJ is fired up and sure that the cold case of her family's murder (now a missing persons case) should be reopened and investigated.  The police don't believe her, and she has to press on alone.
     Lee Carter's art adds to the book's feel amazingly.  The bright colors keep the farm beautiful while the panels look like they could be right out of an episode of a crime drama tv show.  The first issue is great and anyone that likes murder mysteries should check it out.


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